Fish Farms Threaten Wild Atlantic Salmon with Extinction

Enviros have been right to worry about farmed salmon driving wild Atlantic salmon closer to extinction, according to new research by scientists in the British Isles. An estimated 2 million farmed salmon escape each year from fish farms in the North Atlantic, about half the total number of wild adult salmon at sea. Though the farmed fish are not well-equipped to survive outside pens, they threaten wild fish by competing with them for food and interbreeding with them, thereby altering the gene pool. A 10-year study by researchers from Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland found that the offspring of fish that had interbred had a significantly lower survival rate than wild fish; some 70 percent of the interbred fish died in the first few weeks of life. “What we need is higher regulation and monitoring of the farming industry,” said researcher Paulo Prodohl.